BILL WATCH 32/2021
[15th May 2021]
Only the National Assembly Sat This Week
Both Houses will Sit Next Week
In the National Assembly This Week – 11th, 12th and 13th May
Progress made on two Bills
Zimbabwe Independent Complaints Commission Bill [link] given First Reading and sent to PLC
This Bill was gazetted on 24th November 2020. The Bill was commented on in Bill Watch 77/2020 a few days later [link], which also referred to the background to the Bill
The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs presented the Bill to the National Assembly on Tuesday 11th May. It was duly given its formal First Reading and immediately referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] for the committee’s report on whether or not the Bill would, if enacted by Parliament in its present form, be inconsistent with any provision of the Constitution.
As at 14th May the PLC’s report was still awaited.
Pension and Provident Funds Bill [link] – Start of Second Reading Stage
Minister’s Second Reading Speech [link]
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development began proceedings by delivering his Second Reading speech explaining why the current Pensions and Provident Funds Act needs to be replaced and how and why the Bill will change the way pension and provident funds are regulated .
Portfolio Committee report on the Bill [link]
The report on the Bill by the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development was then presented by Hon Dr Nyashanu. The report outlines the reaction to the Bill received from the industry regulator [the Insurance and Pensions Commission [IPEC], by the pensions industry, pensioners and their associations, and members of the public.
The Committee Stages of the two other Bills on the Order Paper – the Cyber Security & Data Protection Bill [link] and the Forest Amendment Bill [link] – were carried forward for consideration next week without having brought up by the Ministers responsible for them.
During the week MPs moved the following new motions, supporting them with explanatory speeches. Debate by their colleagues will follow in due course, and the usual Parliamentary practice requires the Ministers responsible for the sectors concerned to respond to the motions and debate giving the official reaction to what has been said.
Call for the repeal of the Vagrancy Act On Tuesday 11th May Hon S.K. Mguni moved a motion calling for the repeal of the Vagrancy Act because it is inconsistent with section 56 of the Constitution providing for equality and non-discrimination for all persons regardless of their being homeless. The motion also calls on the State to ensure that all citizens enjoy their basic human rights and recommends that all institutions dealing with the underprivileged to embark on a massive rehabilitation exercise for rehabilitation of vulnerable people, particularly those without homes.
Problems with composite classes in Government primary schools On Thursday 13th May Hon Josiah Sithole moved his motion calling for the complete removal of composite classes from the Education System and suggesting various methods of doing so, including the progressive recruitment of more teachers to increase the teacher establishment of schools with composite classes.
Staffing problems in Government rural schools Also on 13th May Hon Nyabani moved a motion calling on the Ministries of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and Primary and Secondary Education to fill vacant posts in rural schools to mitigate the challenges of poor pass rates and incentivise the conditions of service of teachers in rural schools to make service in such schools more attractive.
Mr K.M. Chokuda Reappointed as Clerk of Parliament
On Wednesday 12th May the House approved the appointment, by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders, of Mr Chokuda for a second six-year term of office as Clerk of Parliament in terms of section 154 of the Constitution MPs on both sides of the House applauded Mr Chokuda’s impartiality, efficiency, management style, helpfulness and calmness under pressure. Only two terms of office are permitted by section 154(2).
Acts Recently Gazetted
Acts of 2020
All Acts passed by Parliament have now been gazetted, with the recent gazetting of the following Acts:
· Constitutional Court Act [Chapter 7:22] [Act 5/2020, gazetted on Friday 14th May 2021] [link]
· Manpower Planning and Development Amendment Act, 2020 [Act 12/2020, gazetted on 7th May 2021] [link]
First Act of 2021
· Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No. 2) Act, 2021 [Act 2/2021] [gazetted on] [link]
Bills Coming up in Parliament Next Week – 18th, 19th and 20th May
Cyber Security & Data Protection Bill [link] – for the start of the Committee Stage
There are many pages of proposed amendments to be considered, emanating from both the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services and the Portfolio Committee. All the amendments are captured in a document prepared by Veritas and available on our website. The Minister‘s amendments are extensive and were summarised in Bill Watch 18/2021 [link]; if adopted, they will change the original Bill considerably.
Forest Amendment Bill [link] – for the start of the Committee Stage
The previous Notice of Amendments [link], setting out amendments proposed by the Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, the Minister responsible for this Bill, no longer appears on the Order Paper. It has been withdrawn for corrections to be made and the corrected Notice of Amendments from the Minister is awaited for inclusion on the Order Paper in due course, possibly next week.
Only two Bills are likely to come up:
Marriages Bill – for completion of Committee Stage
This Bill was last considered by Senators in April, when the Senate dealt with clauses 1-16 previously and made two amendments – see Bill Watch 25/2021 of 26th April [link]. Clauses 17 onwards still have to be dealt with. The Minister’s Notice of Amendments, which is available on the Veritas website [link], shows two amendments remaining to be dealt with:
Clause 17 (Unregistered customary law unions)
Clause 41 (Civil partnerships).
The amendments were summarised in Bill Watch 22/2021 [link].
If the Senate completes work during the week, the amendments made will have to be checked by the PLC for constitutionality before the Bill is finally passed by the Senate and sent back to the National Assembly for its approval.
Centre for Education, Innovation, Research and Development Bill [link]
This Bill was passed by the National Assembly, with one minor amendment, and transmitted to the Senate during its recent recess.